Monday, November 15, 2010

Back from Louisville

Today marks Day 1 back from one of my favorite shows in the world and I wish I didn't have to dive back into reality. Helping/observing my sister and brother getting ready for the National Junior Shropshire Show was a great learning experience for me whose minimal sheep experience stood in stark contrast to what my siblings have learned in a few short years. Luckily, with my first aid experience to repair my sister's finger, and Amanda's previous sheep knowledge, we were able to contribute to the show placings which are proof of the visible improvement in our family flock over the past few years. With rams placing 4th and 9th, and a ewe placing 9th in a large class, we are gearing up for next year now and our first sale in Eaton next spring. Hopefully this also includes new facilities on the homestead to accommodate the growing numbers of sheep on our place. Then hopefully we will start seeing return on investments although that was not the obvious first intention when we started showing sheep but it'd be nice to pay for the hobby.

While we were down there, I also saw something else which I thought I'd comment on. A girl took 2 of her sheep out on a walk in the grass behind the sheep area and was having a terrible time getting these sheep to move in the right direction. Compounding the problem was an air traffic landing pattern just above her that scared the sheep every time a plane came in low to land. What shocked me was how forceful and aggressive she became toward the sheep over the course of her difficult walk. By the end, we had even seen her kick the lambs a few times.

Now, I'm not saying this because I want the girl fined, or her show rights revoked or to publicly humiliate her (although she could use a little learning from the experience). She is young and the action is more concerning than the damage, but she is learning from someone. What I'm trying to do is call out to those older individuals to be positive role models in your treatment of animals. Youth look up to you to follow rules and to exhibit a high level of moral conduct both at the shows and at home on the farm. Not only are youth looking up to you, but the consumer also looks to you for your leadership in the way you treat the animals raised for food. They want to know that you care as much about your animals as you profess to, and as long as there are people out there making mistakes, consumer trust will be challenging to keep. Be a good example to those around you, both older and younger to care for your animals as you were taught so that consumers will continue to trust us. People are always watching; make sure you are glad about what they can see.

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